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 Actually, I wanted the other one...

 

 

 

 

         
 

G R E E T I N G S . . .

 

I still have to pinch myself to believe this, but it would have been around 25 years ago this month that copies of issue 4 of The Mmattrix started landing on doormats (hands up who remembers paper, envelopes and stamps!?), complete with reviews of the first 41 releases on the 'new' Music & Elsewhere label. Although it wasn't the first time the name of Music & Elsewhere had appeared on a cassette, this was the real beginning of the open international label it became, as well as the first time the M&E prefix was used in catalogue numbers.

 

The origins of the label go back as far as the March of 1987 when we started self-releasing demos of our own stuff, but a chance meeting with a local band called The Charles set in motion a series of events that would spur us on way beyond that. We started a local band co-op called The Grain, planned some gigs together and put out a collaborative demo cassette called "Mick & Chris On Acid" (C-4005) in the May. The Grain wasn't long-lived, but it burned brightly and culminated in the staging of a six band open air benefit festival in aid of Greenpeace, the organisation of which was no mean achievement for a bunch of amateurs!

 

The whole experience was something of an inspiration, so when I decided to have a go at doing a 'label proper' come the July of 1988, the first release would be "Grain-Aid!" (MMATT 19), a compilation of tracks from the many talents that had made The Grain possible. It's now available free online, see the links at the bottom of the page. And that was the first album the name Music & Elsewhere appeared on, albeit only in brackets, and in spite of us confusingly calling the label 'Magic Moments At Twilight Time', the same as the band. What can I say? Learning curve and OCD in glorious combination!

 
  With the first generation of MMATT rapidly disintegrating, I spent the latter half of 1988 checking out other local bands with a view to expanding the A&R of our fledgling label. One of the first we came across was the Church Crookham duo of Christ & Satan (I never figured out which was which), aka Philip Hutchinson (left) and Peter Hussey, here seen recording their "Dark Side Of The Sausage" mini album (MMATT 28, March 1989) at our old place in Frimley, to be released as part of a double tape set with the imaginary Ehrlich Bullet (guilty). Their later "Please Don't Touch My Yoghurt" (MMATT 31, October 1989) was actually the first 'entirely out of house' album we released, some 2 years before 'M&E proper' got going! There were also a couple of local reggae artistes, Samuel Lloyd Lodge and Tojo, both of whom had a couple of tracks featured on the flipside of our "Zoen Nostalgia" album (MMATT 30, July 1989), but never went on to produce a whole release for us. Then there was a guy who recorded under the name of Glenn Miller Found; having left an A&R meeting early because "sorry, I got to go to a barbecue", he went missing again.

With MMATT finished as of "Zoen Nostalgia" and myself unable to raise any capital to take the label a stage further, that's probably how things would have been left if not for another chance meeting, this time with a young lady called Leonie Jackson, who tried to bum 50p off me in The Bridgers pub in Camberley. Successfully, I might add. Two years on, we returned with a second edition of "Zoen" called "Earthbound" (MMATT 33, April 1991), a zine called The Mmattrix and a growing curiosity about this underground thing. Connecting with the legendary Stephen Parsons (BBP Records & Tapes), sadly no longer with us, I was introduced to the concept of KFR and the global tape distribution network. With the Autumn 1991 visit to our humble Frimley abode of the man behind the U.S. wing of KFR, Don Campau (Lonely Whistle Music, No Pigeonholes) and the inspirational Kevyn Dymond (Anemic Billfold, Guaranteed Cleveland Records), both of whom I am pleased to say remain good friends all these years later, the die was cast. I don't wish to overdo the use of the word 'legend', but they both are, trust me. A couple of days talking to these two stalwarts of the American underground scene opened my eyes to a completely new world and a very different way of doing things. I was hooked. Issue 3 of The Mmattrix duly went out in January 1992, complete with details of the proposed "Mmattrix Tapes" project (we changed our minds on the name) and the rest, as they say, is history. And now here we are at our silver anniversary...

 
 

LINKS:

"We Are Going Against The Grain" - Feature (22 pages): The secret origins of Music & Elsewhere - the full story of the local band cooperative, from the beginnings of Magic Moments At Twilight Time, right through the creation of the 'label proper' and the release of "Grain-Aid!"

"Grain-Aid!" (MMATT 19, July 1988) - Album (22 tracks): The whole compilation is available for streaming and free download from The Grain's Soundcloud page, there's also an 18 minute extract from the climax of The Grain Festival, featuring The Charles in full swing.

"United World Underground" - Picture Album (125 frames): The story of the underground years and a chance to meet some of the good people who shared the journey, from the first edition of The Mmattrix in April 1991 to the onset of the digital age a decade later.